LED Edit Tutorial Creating Pixel LED Layout With CorelDRAW
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We have discussed custom pixel LED layouts in the past. We talked about How to create custom pixel LED layout with AutoCAD software. In that tutorial, we have discussed how to create a circle pixel LED layout with CorelDRAW and wire it using AutoCAD. In this tutorial, we will discuss how to create a custom pixel LED layout only using CorelDraw software. Both layout creation and wiring (connecting) can be done in CorelDRAW.

Pixel LED layouts that aren’t square or rectangular are known as custom pixel LED layout. This refers to layouts that are either impossible to make or extremely difficult to design using the LED Edit software.

Pixel LED Layout Plan

The most practical approach to designing such a layout is to use third-party software and then import it into LED Edit. This allows the user complete freedom when it comes to designing pixel LED layouts.

The first step is to sketch up a layout plan. The plan might be a hand-drawn diagram or a computer-generated representation of your real layout. This is the physical product’s plan. Certain information should be included in such a strategy. Here are a few examples. However, you can include whatever makes things easier for you.

Basic components should be included in the plan:

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Custom Pixel LED Layout Plan
  • Sketch drawing of outer edges of the layout.
  • Pixel LED placement positions.
  • Guidelines.
  • Amount of pixels for each component of the layout.
  • Distance between each separate component of the layout.
  • Dimension of each component.
  • Amount of LEDs for each component.

Custom Pixel LED Layout with CorelDRAW

In this article, we’ll use CorelDRAW to create a text LED layout. Your design isn’t constrained in any way. You are free to draw whatever you like. You may also create your own design. The following are the prerequisites for this tutorial.

Requirements

  1. CorelDRAW X4 or X5 version. (LED Edit cannot read the connection data of layouts created using later versions of CorelDRAW)
  2. LED Edit 2014 or later version.

Creating a New Project

1- Double click on the CorelDRAW icon.

2- Click on “Blank Document” in the quick start menu or Click on “File” and select “New“.

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CorelDRAW New project

In the “Create Project window“. Type a name for the project in the “Name” field.

Choose the measurement unit by clicking on the drop-down menu next to the width input field. we are going to leave other settings as they are (Default) and click on “OK“.

Creating the Guidelines

In CorelDraw, the first thing we need to do is build a set of guidelines for our text arrangement. When it comes to situating each component (in this example, the letter) in the layout, guidelines might be helpful. It allows you to adjust characteristics such as font size and spacing between letters.

As a result, you’ll be able to swiftly and easily set up your layout. The final work will not include any guidelines. Here are some of the things you should think about while making guidelines.

To create guidelines you need to enable the Ruler, click on “View” and check “Rulers” by clicking on it.

The next thing you need to do is to enable the guidelines, click on “View” and check “Guidelines” by clicking on it.

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CorelDRAW ruler settings

To change the Ruler settings, Click on “Tools” and select “Options“, In the options window, click on the plus sign next to “Document” and expand it, Click on “Rulers“.

Setting The origin: In default coordinates of the top left corner is 0.0 on the horizontal axis but not 0.0 on a vertical axis, This can be a little confusing when taking measurements, Lets set it to zero on each axis, In the origin section type the Height of the document in the “Vertical” input field (to get the height of the document go to File >> Document Properties, You can see it next to “Document Size” {Width x Height} ).

After changing the settings click on “OK“.

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CorelDraw scaling the document

Since We are dealing with an actual product, It’s easy to have actual dimensions to be displayed in the rulers: Click on “Edit Scale” button.

Select a scale from “Typical Scales” drop-down menu or input how much distance on the page will represent in the actual product distance by typing the numbers in the “Page Distance” and “World Distance” inputs. (Note: Ruler will show the actual dimensions ).

Creating Outer Guidelines

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Text outer guidelines

The outer guidelines will designate the boundaries of components of the layout. Since The text we are creating, in this case, has two lines we need to designate the boundaries of each text line.

Click on “View” and check “Rulers” by clicking on it.

we need to select the guide layer, Look at your right side menu there will be an “Object Manager” tab click on it. (If you can’t see the object manager go to Windows > Dockers and check “Object Manager“).

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Selecting Guide layer

There will be a label called “Guides” click on it, To create a vertical guideline click and hold the left mouse button on the horizontal ruler and drag your mouse to the area where you want to place the guideline, and release the button.

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Creating Guidelines

To create a Horizontal guideline click and hold the left mouse button on the vertical ruler and drag your mouse to the area where you want to place the guideline and release the mouse button.

Note: To make guideline placement easy you can make it snap to the ruler nudges by checking View > Snap to Grid.

Creating Text Guide

The first step is to construct a text guide that we can use to insert content in the future, In this lesson, we’ll make a text with the term “LED EDIT” in it. Let’s imagine you’re making a signboard. For your text design, You need to select a font for your text design, We are going to use “Bauhaus 93” as the font. Here is how to create the guide text.

Make sure you are in the guides layer, ( In the right side menu there will be an “Object Manager” tab click on it, there will be a label called “Guides” click on it.)

Click on the “Text Tool” in the left toolbox or press “F8” button on your keyboard.

Click on anywhere in the workspace and type whatever you like.

Right-click on the text that you have created and select “Character Formatting“.

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Character Formatting

In the character formatting menu, select the preferred font from the font drop-down menu, Type the font size in the font size input. Click on font alignment and choose a font alignment that you like, Choose a font effect from “Font effect” drop-down list.

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CorelDraw Scaling the text

Click on the text and move the cursor towards any corner of the text selection until you get the scale cursor, Then press shift key of your keyboard and click and hold the left mouse button while dragging it toward the area that you want it to be scaled, Do it until it fits inside the outer guidelines.

To move the text, move your cursor on top of the text until your cursor becomes a move icon. Then, Click and hold your left mouse button while dragging it to the place that you want it to be. After you reach the position, leave the left mouse button to place it.

Creating LED Placement Guides Curves

Right-click on the text and select “Convert to Curves” and again right-click on that text line and select “Break Curve Apart”, Then, press the “ESC” button on your keyboard to deselect. Now you can click on each separate letter of the text.

Text outer Guides

We need to take one letter at a time and create the outer guides. Let’s take the first letter “L“, and let’s break apart the letter “L“, We are going to break it into the corners. To do that we need to select these corners.

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CorelDraw Shape tool

Click on the shape tool from the left toolbar and click on the four corners of the letter “L” while “Shift” key is pressed. Then, Right-click and select “Break Curve apart“.

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Breaking letter
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Break Curve apart

Click on the Pick tool from the toolbox and right-click on the letter “L” then select “Break Curve Apart”, Press “ESC” on your keyboard to deselect.

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Break Curve Apart

Text Inner Guides

As you saw in my plan. We have 3 pixels LED lines inside the letter “L”. So, so we need three guides inside the letter “L“.

Now you can select each section of the letter “L” separately. It’s time to create the inner guides using these outer curves (Guides), Select the outer curve that best represents the inner shape of the letter.

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Selected outer guide curve

Select the section of the outer guide curve that near represent the inner shape. Then, press “Ctrl” and “C” to copy.

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Selecting guide layer

Make sure you are in the guides layer. ( In the right side menu there will be an “Object Manager” tab click on it. There will be a label called “Guides” click on it).

Then press “Ctrl” and “V” to paste. The element will be pasted on top of the original guide curve.

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Scaling the guides
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Scaling guide curves

Scale the pasted guide curve to the position that you need inside the character.

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Text guide curves

Repeat the above 4 steps to all the inside led placement guides.

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re-shaping the curve

You can re-shape the guide curves by using the “Shape Tool“. Simply click on the curve that you want to edit and click on any point, You can move the points, change the curvature, add points (left-click on the curve and then right-click on the curve and select “Add Point“) and can delete points (Select the point that you wants to delete and press “Delete” button).

Here is what it looked like when all the Inner guidelines were completed.

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pixel led placement guides

Note : Some of the guide curves have been created using line tool and pen tool (In the left tool bar).

Creating LED placement Guides

Let’s take the first character “L”. We have two inner guide curves and four outer guide curves. But Placement of the inner guideline curves will cover up to two outer guide curves (Horizontal top curve and vertical bottom curve). So We don’t need to place guides along these curves. Let’s create the guides along the left side outer guide curve:

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Creating Ellipse

Click on the “Ellipse” tool from the toolbar and left-click on the worksheet while holding “Ctrl” and “Shift” on your keyboard, Drag your mouse away from the clicked point, and Leave the mouse when you reach the size of the ellipse that you wants ( the size of the ellipse should be equal or greater than 1.0 unit ). Press “Esc” to deselect.

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Resizing Ellipse

Click on the “Ellipse” using the pick tool and change the size (Enter the with and height) using the top property bar (Both width and height should be equal . It should be equal or greater than 1.0 unit).

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Moving Ellipse

Using the pick tool move the ellipse to the end (any End) of the curve that you are about to place the guides along.

Select the Ellipse and press “Ctrl” and “C” on your keyboard to copy it.

Make sure you are in the guides layer, ( In the right side menu there will be an “Object Manager” tab click on it. There will be a label called “Guides” click on it).

Then press “Ctrl” and “V” to paste. The Ellipse will paste on top of the copied Ellipse.

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placing pixel led guides in curve ends

Use the pick tool to select the ellipse from the center and move the pasted Ellipse to the other end of the guide curve (you will see the cursor text become “node” as the ellipse is at the end of the curve).

Go to windows > Dockers and check “Blend” by clicking on it (If already checked leave it).

Select one Ellipse and select the other (at the other end) while pressing the “Shift” Key on your keyboard.

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Blend Settings

In the right-side panel (Blend Settings tab) type the amount of LED guides you need along the guide curve in the input field. Then Click on “Apply“.

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Blend along the curve
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While the blend is still selected, click on “Path” button and select “New Path”, Then select the curve that you want the led guides to be positioned along. Finally, Click on “Apply” Again.

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Pixel LED guide placement along Curve

Do this to other guide curves in the letter, Here is the result, (Make sure you are doing everything in the guide layer).

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Pixel LED placement Guides

Do the same to other letters as well. Here how it looks like when every character is done.

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pixel Led placement guides

Grouping Guides

To make things easier or to make things clear you can group the guide elements of a character So that it’s easy to use in the future.

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Grouping a single guide letter

Click on pick tool in the left tools menu. Then, click near the character that you want to group and hold the left mouse button while dragging the cursor covering the character area, Leave the mouse button.

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Selecting the Guide layer

Make sure you are in the guides layer. (In the right side menu there will be an “Object Manager” tab click on it, there will be a label called “Guides” click on it).

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Renaming The Group

Click on “Arrange” and select “Group“. To rename the group clicks on the grouped letter guide and go-to object manager, You can see the selected group is highlighted, Right-click on it and select “Rename”. Then type any name you like. Finally press Enter.

Duplicating Guides

If you have the same letter multiple times in the text, You don’t have to redo the same letter, again and again, you can simply copy the completed character and paste it in the place of the other letter.

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Renaming pixel LED guides

Group both letters separately as we have mentioned in the above section. Rename the group as you wish. So you can identify them separately.

Click on the completed guide letter and press “Ctrl” and  “C”  to copy it.

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Selecting guide layer

Make sure you are in the “Guide” Layer (Right side menu “Object Manager“).

Press “Ctrl” and “V” to paste it. (will be pasted over the original letter).

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Moving Completed letter over the non-completed

Use the pick tool to move it over the letter that you are about to replace.

Once the completed letter is placed over the non-completed letter. Select the non-completed letter from the object manager and press “Delete” button on your keyboard to delete it.

Follow the above steps mentioned under “Creating LED Placement Guides Curves” and “Creating Led placement Guides” to complete the other letter guides. Here is what it looks like after all the guides have been completed.

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Pixel LED placement guides

Placing Pixel LED References

Now we are done with the Pixel LED Guides, It’s time to focus on the Pixel LED reference points. Pixel LED references are ellipses that represent the Pixel LED points So that LED Edit can read them and know the exact location of each individual Pixel LED, We are going to place ellipses on top of each LED placement guide. But In a different layer or layers.

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Select and move layers

Click on “Object manager” tab in the right side menu. Then Select “Layer 1” or create a new layer by clicking on the new layer button at the bottom and selecting the new layer, click on that layer and hold your mouse button to drag it over the guide layer.

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CorelDraw creating Ellipse

Create an Ellipse, Using Ellipse Tool with the same dimensions as the Pixel LED placement guide we have created, The size of the ellipse should be equal to or greater than 1.0 units (refer to creating Led placement Guides section).

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Snap to Objects

Click on “Object manager” tab in the right side menu, and click on the pencil icon in front of Guide Layer, (the Icon will cross out). This will prevent you from accidentally editing the things on the guide layer. If you want to edit the guide layer afterward, re-click on the pencil icon.

Go to “View” select and check “Snap to Objects“.

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Moving referance points

Once you did that click on the center of the ellipse and hold your mouse button, drag it on top of any Pixel LED placement guides, and leave your mouse button (As the cursor text will become “Center“).

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Copy and move pixel LED references

Copy “Ctrl + C” the same ellipse we just moved and press “Ctrl” plus “V” to paste it on top of the original ellipse, Then Move that ellipse on top of the next Pixel LED placement guide.

Continue the above step until you place ellipses (Pixel LED references ) over every Pixel LED placement guide. Don’t re-do any equal letters, Leave them alone.

Wiring Pixel LED Reference Points

Our LED references are now in place. It’s time to wire them all together. We’ll connect them in a series. Keep in mind that this wiring pattern should be the same as the physical product’s wiring design. To show how to create a custom layout with numerous ports. Each text line will be connected to a distinct port. However, the wiring design you choose should be one that you can simply replicate in the real product.

Go to “View” click and uncheck “Dynamic Guides“. (Make sure only “Snap to Object” is being checked).

Go to “Object Manager” tab, and click on the eye in front of the Guide layer. Which will hide the guide layer.

Click on the bottom right corner of “Free Hand” tool in the left toolbar. A side menu will appear. Select “Pen” tool.

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Connecting Pixel LED References

If you made a mistake, simply press “Ctrl” and “Z” to undo the action. If you wish to delete a connecting point or points, Click on the point with the “Shape” tool, or press “Shift” and choose the points you wish to erase with the “Delete” button. Here’s how it appears when all the letters have been completed independently.

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Individual Character Wiring

Grouping Pixel LED References

To group Pixel LED references with connections, use the same procedure as described in the “Grouping Guides” section. Make sure the guide layer is locked (in “Object Manager“, click and cross off the pencil icon in front of the guide layer).

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Selecting  pixel LED references

Click on the pick tool in the left tools menu, Then, click near the references that you want to group and hold the left mouse button while dragging the cursor covering the character area. Leave the mouse button after you covered the whole area.

Make sure you are in the layer that contains the LED references that you want to group (Right side menu “Object Manager” Tab).

Click on “Arrange” and select “Group“, To rename the group click on the grouped LED references and go to object manager. You can see the selected group is highlighted, Right-click on it and select “Rename”. Then type any name you like, and press Enter.

Duplicating Pixel LED References

If you have the same character over and over, you don’t need to repeat the previous steps to finish them. You can relocate a group of pixel LED references on top of the same letters in your layout by duplicating them.

Group the character and the wiring as we have mentioned in the above section. Rename it as you wish.

Click on the completed and grouped reference character and press “Ctrl” and “C” to copy it.

Make sure you are in the Layer that you want to paste it, (Right side menu “Object Manager“).

Press “Ctrl” and “V” to paste it, (will be pasted over the original).

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Moving grouped reference points

Use the pick tool to move it over the character that you are about to replace.

After all the pixel LED reference points have been placed and the Guides layer is hidden, Here is what its looks like.

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pixel LED reference points

Wiring Between Letters

Now we have done wiring each individual letter, It’s time to wire them together. Each character that connects to a specific port should be connected in series, In this tutorial, we are going to use a single port for a single line of text. Hence, two ports are needed. In this case, the text line “LED” is connected to port 1, and the text line “EDIT” is connected to port 2. So, let’s connect the first line of text.

Click on the pen tool from the toolbox.

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Wiring between letters

Click on the last reference point where the wiring ends of the first character “L“. Then, Click on the first reference point where wiring starts of the next character “E“. click when the cursor text become “node“. Do the same between the letter “E” and “D“. Then, press “Enter“.

Then we are going to connect the letters in the second line same way. Press “Enter” after connecting the last two letters of that line. Now, All the letters have been connected, here how it looks like.

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Wiring of custom text

Notes :
* We are connecting the two text lines to separate ports, There is no connection between them.
* As we did the wiring in such way so that the wiring end of previous letter is right next to the wiring start of the next letter.

Creating a Port

Now that we’ve finished wiring, let’s establish and connect each line to the ports that I described earlier. Per-port, you can connect up to the maximum number of pixel LEDs supported by your Pixel LED controller. Although both text lines can be connected to a single port, we will use two ports for demonstration purposes.

Click on the text tool and click near the first character of the first text line “L“. Then, Type “p1” without any space (p1 means Port 1).

For the next line, we are going to do the same. But, we are going to type “p2” instead of “p1” (p2 means Port 2).

You can type any port number you wish to connect the pixel LED references to. Type “p” followed by port number.

Connecting to Port

Click on the pen tool as we have mentioned in the Wiring pixel LED Reference Points section.

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Connecting the Port

Using the pen tool click on the first reference point’s center (cursor text will display “node“) of the first letter then move the pen tool on top of the port label that we have created in the above section (In this case “p1“), move the cursor near the left of the text. The cursor text will become “text baseline” click on that point.

Create and connect any other port labels to the corresponding pixel LED references, Here how it looks like after connecting port 1 and port 2 to two text lines.

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Pixel LED layout port connection

Exporting DXF file

To Import this layout file to LED Edit software we have to export or save this file as a .dxf file, an AutoCAD dxf file to be exact.

Go to “File” and select “Export“.

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Export as dxf

 In the export, the window browses the location that you want to export the layout file to, type the file name in the “File Name” text field.

Click on the “Save as File Type” drop-down menu and select “DXF-AutoCAD (*.dxf)“. Then, Click on “Export“.

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Export settings

A window will appear, In that window select “Export Version” as “AutoCAD 2007“. “Export Units” as the unit you have used in the creation of the layout, For “Export Text as” Check “Text“, Leave other settings as defaults. Then, Click on “OK“.

Importing Custom Pixel LED Layout

Now you can save and close CorelDraw software and start LED Edit software, Here is how to import .dxf layout in LED Edit and LED Edit-K versions:

LED Edit Versions

1- Create a new project (please refer to our basics lessons if you don’t know how to LEDEdit Basics )

2- Click on “Project Config (C)” and select “Import  (CorelDraw .Dxf)“.

3- A window will appear to check “Not accurate attachment“. Click “OK“.

4- Browse and select the file location, Then select the file and click on “Open“.

5- If everything went OK. You will see a message like this, Stating the number of pixels that have been successfully imported. Click “OK“.

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Successfully imported dxf layout file

6- Continue programing the custom pixel LED layout as we have mentioned in This Tutorial (Continue from the “Recording a Video or an Animation” section).

LED Edit-K Versions

1- Create a new project (please refer to our basics lessons if you don’t know how to LEDEdit -K Basics).

2- Click on “Edit Layout“.

3- In the Layout Editor window Click on “dxf” button. Then, Browse and select .dxf layout file that you have created, press “Open“.

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LEDEdit dxf import settings

In the import, dxf settings check “Imprecise Connection” and increase the scale as you wish using the slider, the lower the scale greater the displacement. Greater the scale greater the distance between each individual pixel. But, If your original dxf file has a larger gap between pixel LED references, select a low scale number.

 If everything went OK, You will see a message like this.

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LEDEdit-K Successfully imported dxf file message

Image Source: Learn It Step By Step

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